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A SYMPHONY: Colorado Avalanche Play Almost Perfect Defensive Game 2

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Colorado Avalanche
Jack Dempsey/AP

I’m still racking my brain here, and I can only remember one or two really dangerous offensive chances tonight. Maybe I’m missing a couple, but I doubt it. Truly, I think that was as perfect a game as a team can play tonight. The Colorado Avalanche are two games away from the Stanley Cup Finals, and it seems doubtful the Edmonton Oilers are going to stand in their way.

The Avalanche have just shown themselves to be too powerful for the Oilers to handle. The Avs are dominating with puck-possession time, and that’s how you beat a team with guys like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it.

“It was incredible. Our detail tonight and our focus was just exactly what we wanted to do. We wanted to turn it up a notch. We understood last game probably wasn’t sustainable for the whole series. Obviously, they’re a high-octane team,” said Nazem Kadri (three assists). “I think we did a great job defensively. Frankie made some big saves, so all of that put together results in a shutout. So, I was very proud of the guys for that.”

What a game this team played tonight. It was just a symphony of strong, fundamental defense, combined with an aggressive offensive forward group. And, right or wrong, I think Pavel Francouz is the No. 1 goalie moving forward for the Colorado Avalanche.

Darcy Kuemper remained out with an upper-body injury, and Francouz looked strong in net – even if he didn’t have to do a ton of work. He seemed aggressive to the shooter, more active side to side than had Kuemper of late. Kuemper had been playing deep in his net of late; Francouz was out challenging guys, but at the same time looking quick side-to-side.

By the end of the game, fans were chanting “Frankie, Frankie!”

“Some things are hard to describe,” Francouz said after the game. “It was a full team effort tonight.”

The Avs limited McDavid and Draisaitl to a combined five shots on net.

“I think the third period is the one that almost really hurt us last game. I think the way we learned about it, we didn’t stop playing this time in the third,” Mikko Rantanen (goal) said. “We kept going and kept forechecking and staying on the pucks in the O-zone and I think that was a big difference.”

The Avs played a dramatically better game defensively than Tuesday night. They didn’t give Edmonton much of anything all night, just always playing with the puck more.

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I thought the Avs just were so good in their own end, making good breakouts and smart outlet passes. They capitalized on enough chances to make it a rout of sorts.

Nathan MacKinnon took a slash (we think it was actually a puck to the right hand from a slap shot from Cale Makar) toward the end of the game and was seen shaking his hand and being talked to by the trainer, so that’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.

Otherwise, it was about as perfect a night as you could get. Josh Manson, Artturi Lehkonen, MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen scored goals for the Avs. Now it’s on to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4, starting Saturday night.

Here’s Frankie taking a twirl as the game’s No. 1 star:

Terry Frei and Kelsey Hammond contributed to this report

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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sjavsfan

Good point on Edmonton’s offensive chances AD. I don’t recall too many and unlike game 1, I really didn’t get nervous that McDavid and company was going to make it close. Let’s hope we can play the same style on the road. Go Avs!!

Sean Washington

AK much?

Zach Heiman

Simply a great game by the entire team and a fun game to watch. Avs have grown a lot and was really nice to see that they didn’t buy into any of the goonery at the end. Two wins away from the finals, 6 from the Cup!! Go Avs!!!

ricoflashback

That, my friends, was the finest playoff game the Avs have played in a long, long time. A real commitment to defense. Heavy forecheck and backcheck. Slowing the Oilers down in the neutral zone. Playing the puck and squeezing the boards to keep the attack going. And simple clear outs while not trying to get too fancy with the puck. And of course . . . F-R-A-N-K-I-E !!! Calm, cool, collected. Square to the shooter. Great stick work to poke the puck away on a couple, real good scoring chances. Bottle it and serve it up for the rest of… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by ricoflashback
Jeff Paxton

Francouz is the best goalie in Colorado. Quicker than Kuemper, who is quicker than was Grubauer. I am glad he took FULL advantage of this opportunity to prove it!

Sean Washington

Sample size one. Grub is no longer in CO.

Donald Victory

LOL. Sample size one.

Bob Neal

I have to agree that was one of the finest defensive efforts I’ve seen this group play. I don’t know why they don’t do it more often as they certainly have the capability to. Frankie was stupendous while not even having to be spectacular. What a great game.

Ryan Krueger

Agree, but we will see if the Avs can sustain the effort in Edmonton.

Dave Jones

A SYMPHONY indeed. Love that description. I believe Manson and not Cale, had a goal. Enjoy Edmonton, AD. Lookin forward to your coverage.

~ Dave in Monument

shjer00

Oilers have to win 4 of the next 5.Avs have to win 2 of the next 5. Like the sound of that.

Donald Victory

Good math skills. How’d you do that?

Thomas Wilgus

Edmonton resorted to goon hockey, especially Kane and Draisaitl. I thought their young coach would do a better job controlling the gratuitous cheap shots, with some of Kane’s flying elbows meant to do damage. Not a good look for Edmonton with “King Wayne” in attendance and not a word from him about that as part of the post game coverage team; a shameless homer.
Congrats to Josh Manson for getting a goal, playing great defensel and throwing some Oilers around right in front of his father.
Hail King “Frankie”.
Go AVs! Sweep these bums.

Jeff Paxton

Kane should’ve been ejected. Thug.

Sean Washington

Thugger for sure! He even said before the game we was going to goon it up.

Sean Washington

Yes, glad you mentioned Wayne. Boy he looked pissed off after the thrashing. His hair has no gray either. I wonder if he wears a wig? Good to see him stick up for his old team. To his credit, he did not want to leave Edmonton but had no choice. Love the small market teams. When the Avs advance, I hope they get the Rangers and open up a game of wooopass!

Bob Neal

Don’t forget to include Nurse in that list. It’s got to be odd coaching against your kid at that level. Do you really want to see him lose?

Karl Keen

When Kane wants to play hockey, he is a valuable asset, but his antics from the puck drop were clownish. Surprised Manson didn’t put him in his place at the end of the game, but probably the smarter move not to.

JD16

Man the Avs just seem on a different level to everyone they play. It will be interesting to see how Edmonton plays in game three. Especially with the way they were going after the Avs at the end of the game.
I thought Toews had an excellent game. Which is good to see after not playing well in game one.
Another thing is I loved hearing the crowd chanting Frankie to start the game. I thought that was great showing him they had his back from the start.

John Klingenstein

The team is so freaking good, but to see the buy in from everyone is beautiful. Play dirty…we’ll take the power plays, shove it up your a$$ and sip from the cup. Don’t remember ever seeing a team so disciplined, and they are not soft. It’s all about winning. Really cool to see. If the refs actually called it fairly, Avs would have had even more pp’s. That call on Byram for getting his head shoved under the bench??? Anyways, only 1/7 tonight but had tons of chances. No doubt if this continues, the Avs will make Oil pay on… Read more »

JD16

Totally. Yeah that Byram call was ridiculous. I was chuckling because It reminded me I once got a penalty (the only one on the play) in floor hockey YEARS ago. I was being pushed/cross checked from behind and I put my hand against the wall to stop myself from going head first into it. I pushed off the wall to regain my balance. That was apparently a sin cause I was sent to the bin. I commend Byram for keeping his cool and laughing it off (I pleaded my case, when it fell on deaf ears I called it B***S***… Read more »

Donald Victory

No one cares…

Joel Stefaniak

Hey look, it’s that guy nobody likes!

Sean Washington

Toews still struggled a bit on d-zone clears. His move in on Smith was impressive. Five hole was open it would have been awesome if he scored.

Seems the giving away the lead drama may be over. Let’s hope!

JD16

I’m gonna need you to got knock on some wood for that second comment. 😉
…no seriously.

Hoppyhacker

Just sheer awesomeness! And one last benefit of this is, a glaring lack of posts by certain trolls! Ha ha ha ha ha! So much awesomeness!

Sean Washington

Play well, no need to criticize. Duh…

dk

Great all-around game and complete team effort from the Avs.

I love the maturity shown in the face of all the cheap shots and dirty play from Draisaitl, Kane and Kassian.

I hope Woodcroft is too much of milquetoast to rein those children in. It will only make it easier for us if they keep that up.

Sean Washington

Kassian was trying to goon Bo. EJ stepped in. Loved that!

Bob Neal

I realize it is only one game but is your opinion of Frankie changing Mr. Corsi? Can’t ask more from a goalie than we saw last night.

dk

I feel like he needs another game like this to convince that he can stand with Vassy or Shesty. It was only 24 shots, Bob. What happens when he faces 48? I, just like all Avs fans, hope the result is the same.

Make fun of the attention I pay to stats all you want. If numbers hurt your brain, just stop looking and go with your “feels.”

Bob Neal

Just giving you a hard time not making fun. I think some of the stats get far too complex for a game that doesn’t show much consistency in its execution which is what makes it fun to follow. I enjoy reading your posts because you do a good job backing up your opinions. Completely agree that one solid performance is not enough of a database to make conclusions from.

dk

Jeez Bob. Now you made me feel bad for getting defensive.

I like advanced stats because they help me bridge the gap between subjectivity and objectivity. Really they are the indelible record of what was achieved on the ice. I can take that record and mix it with what I saw and remember to form a more complete idea about a team/player’s performance.

GWood

Another great game in this run. This is as fun as it gets for Avs fans. I agree, i think Frankie will own the net for the foreseeable future. He’s shown the ability to be consistent for extended periods and last night was no different. The boys need to continue to keep heads on a swivel and be smart. Assume the cheap shot. Go ahead and pass on some plays where you will get crushed, the talent of this team can make up for it.

Sean Washington

Well, I hate to say it but Donald Victory has been yammering for a defensive game first. Puck support clearing the defensive zone, and wait for your chances. With Bednar having a plan B, C, D to Z. The only less than brilliant spot was the powerplay. Powerless but it did make Kane pay for his bullocks in the end. Not too many boneheaded plays and the refs missed many calls against the Oil. Draisaitl was a dick all night long and committed many penalties. But the zebras swallowed the whistle after the first three calls were against the Oil.… Read more »

Jim Strohmeier

I don’t like the math problem for logins – it never works for me, never. That being said – I LOVE Colorado Hockey Now! Please get another webmaster. I use G00gle login when I get on NHL66(dot)ir, to place my simulated hockey game bets. It’s also a great place to watch games when Avs fans cannot get Altitude. (at this point, I’d pay extra for Altitude, to get the pre and post game shows with Ryker and Keefe), and I have NHL Center Ice (and live in Las Vegas, where a fan can see every damn game) I really like… Read more »

Donald Victory

Yeah, I have to whip out my 17B to solve the problem. Takes up too much time!

Bob Neal

AD, Can you tell us again about the “science” declaring that altitude only makes a difference when you go from high altitude to low altitude and not the other way around? Av’s had much more jump and were significantly faster than the Oilers last night for all 60 minutes. Playing regularly at 5,000 ft. is a definite advantage.

Donald Victory

Train at altitude then go run a marathon at sea level. Same thing…

Karl Keen

Agree Dater on Frankie. Aggressive. Said give me your best shot and was much better at disrupting passes across the street with an active stick. Great poke check on Nurse. I have to give the crowd big kudos for chanting his name before the national anthems. That had to motivate him!

just great game all around! Think if we got our PP going in that game and didnt’ get crushed on face offs. Would have been 8-0.

Totally perplexed at Edmonton’s strategy to try to be physical and mean. They are neither.

Karl Keen

Wanted to add I was so excited to see Footer in the pre-game telecast. Was hoping they would keep him on to tell Gretzky to shut up.

Zach Heiman

Will be curious to see how Donnie Victory comes up with something super negative for this game…should have scored on the 5-3 and therefore won 7-0 so this team is garbage? Am I doing it right

Donald Victory

Close Hyman. Keep trying! And thanks for thinking of me! Peace and love!

Last edited 25 days ago by Donald Victory
Glendon Gulliver
Aaron Rud

Anyone notice how Manson looked at the Oiler’s bench after scoring? It was almost a double tall man to his dad. I loved it.

Aaron Rud

BTW, you know how good this game was? Donald Victory isn’t on here yet, whining about how everyone sucks.

Donald Victory

LOL, whining? You mean truth telling? Yeah, you got it wrong, again!

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